Which Steam Deck Storage Variant Should You Pick? Here’s How To Decide

We have made the decision simpler!

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which Steam Deck storage variant to choose
Credit: Mohammed Abubakar, Fossbytes

Steam Deck has recently been in the news as Valve has sent review units to creators. Your feedback and coverage have been pretty exciting, and many exciting things are coming up in the future via software updates.

If you’re thinking of preordering one, you might be confused about which storage variant to go with; we are here to help you decide which Steam Deck storage variant to pick and why. Let’s get started.

Steam Deck Storage variants: Which one to pick?

The Steam Deck comes in three variants—64GB eMMC, 256GB SSD, and 512GB SSD. Storage is not the only difference between the models. The 256GB and 512GB variants offer different perks as well.

steam deck storage variants and perks
Source: Steam Deck

As you can see from the image above, choosing the 64GB eMMC variant will only get you the carrying case. The 256GB SSD variant will give you more space to store your game, a carry case, and an exclusive Steam community profile bundle.

The 512GB SSD variant gives you bigger storage, an “exclusive” carrying case, a Steam community profile bundle, an exclusive virtual keyboard theme, and, best of all, an anti-glare etched glass to prevent reflections.

Why should you buy the 64GB variant?

Lesser perks aside, the 64GB eMMC variant is the least fast among the three. However, you can add a microSD card to expand the storage on all three variants, and it’s going to come in handy, especially in the 64GB variant.

In the game launch speed demos that we’ve seen in the impressions videos, there was hardly any difference in game launch speeds while running games via the SSD Vs. on a microSD card.

LinusTechTips—Go to 13:31 for game load times.

In the Steam Deck teardown that Valve uploaded to YouTube, the 64GB Steam Deck variant does have an M.2 NVMe. The 64GB eMMC is an M.2 module so, while you cannot add more storage alongside the 64GB memory (64GB + 128/256/512GB SSD), you can remove the eMMC M.2 module and add an M.2 2230 SSD.

Currently, there are not many 2230 M.2 SSD options in the market, but Micron, in CES 2022, unveiled 2230 form factor SSDs for portable gaming consoles. Once consumers start receiving their Steam Deck orders, the SSDs will probably appear on online portals.

But, and it’s a big but, Valve recommends against it an untested SSD could.

  • Consume more power and affect battery life.
  • Interfere with the radio antennae thereby affecting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Besides that, while it’s pretty easy to get inside the Steam Deck, you’ll need to be extra careful while touching the parts with your bare hands as it might short circuit the motherboard and permanently damage your Deck.

Other reasons to buy the 64GB variant

As for the warranty, Valve said, “You have every right to open it,” which probably means that you won’t end up voiding your warranty if you open the console unless you end up damaging the internal components in the process.

Summing up, if you’re willing to take the risk of upgrading your Steam Deck’s memory or if you’re low on budget, you can consider getting the 64GB variant. Not to mention, if you think the storage is not enough, you could always throw an SD card into the mix.

Why should you buy the 256GB/512GB SSD variants?

You might ask, “Okay, so the load times on both the SSD and SD card are the same, so why bother buying the SSD variants?” And the answer is simple. Steam Deck is more than just a handheld gaming console. It’s nothing less than a portable computer.

Earlier, Valve also said in its FAQs that you could dual-boot on the Deck and easily install Windows, unlike other handhelds (aaa-Swi’t’chhhhhhh* sniff* sniff*). If you end up buying the 64GB variant and installing Windows, it’s not going to be a good experience.

Hence, if you don’t want to take risks by modding, the extra $129 for the 256GB SSD and $249 for the 512GB SSD make sense. We’d highly suggest getting the 512GB variant as the same value proposition is better.

The etched glass will enhance your gaming experience as it’ll be less glossy and will counter reflections very well compared to the other variants. Not to mention, you’re also getting a better carrying case, Steam goodies, and the fastest storage.

Steam Deck 512GB Etched glass
Source: Short Circuit

Which Steam Deck storage variant did you preorder? Will you be modding the console or using it as is? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a passionate tech writer whose love for tech started in 2011 when he got a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Linux and open-source, you'll find him binge-watching anime or Tech content on YouTube.